…though Kenya is in a better position than Zimbabwe, neither country has achieved the necessary reforms, as set out by their respective power-sharing agreements, to hold free and fair elections in 2013. While Kenya continues along a slow but determined road towards democratisation, it needs to start focusing on reconciliation and national cohesion efforts, to create a support base for the institutional reforms that are being achieved. Zimbabwe on the other hand, needs to start taking its transition seriously.
Today we are using a piece by Teresa Mugadza which she wants disseminated widely. Leading up to the referendum on 16 March we will continue to put both our researcher's views on the new Constitution and any others we feel may be interesting.
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.” This well known quote from Donald Rumsfeld comes to mind when considering the provisions relating to proportional representation which appear in the proposed constitution for the country.
There is an inevitable sense of trepidation when elections start to loom in Zimbabwe, especially since 2000. All too often it feels that we merely repeat the same cycle without any evidence of learning from the mistakes of the past. It is for this reason that it is very important to carefully examine the past, and, to this end, RAU would like to emphasize some of its own findings from past elections, particularly 2008.
Over the decades, forced displacement has been frequently used in Zimbabwe as a political weapon. During the Liberation War, hundreds of thousands of rural Zimbabweans were forced from their homes and into “keeps”, so-called “protected villages”, in order to prevent their support for the freedom fighters. It is a tactic that has been repeatedly used subsequently since 2000, with Operation Murambatsvina the most notorious of the many examples.
Stone age era…
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
Lord Acton’s words are as true today as they were in 1887. When politicians become corrupted by power, they become arrogant and tend to think that they own the people. They completely forget that their mandate is to serve the people. Instead, they demand to be called titles like “chef” and in most cases join the looting spree.
Issue 507 of the MDC Today (28.01.13), quoting Tendai Biti’s criticism of the indigenisation programme, is likely to draw snorts of derision from the companies affected by Minister Kasukuwere’s policies.
Kasukuwere demands that non-indigenous companies dispose of 51% of “their shares” to black Zimbabweans. This demand immediately appears to be nonsense to lawyers and those with any accounting or business skills. Companies do not own the shares - shareholders do. One cannot legally compel companies to dispose of that which they do not own and over which they have no control.
In a recent report issued by our sister organisation IDASA in conjunction with RAU, the reforms needed to implement an effective police force in Zimbabwe are outlined. Here is an extract from this report:
SEVENTY NINE members of WOZA and two babies were arrested on 12 November and held at Bulawayo Central police station for staging a peaceful protest at the City Council Tower block where most Council workers are housed, to demand the provision of clean water to their homes. The protest was against the recurrent water shortages in Bulawayo. This is not the first time that WOZA women in Bulawayo have been targeted for the ‘heinous crime’ of staging a peaceful demonstration.